Small changes can release you from the trap of stress and busyness so you can enjoy your life.

From time to time, we all get consumed with our hectic schedule and demands of life. When that happens, we need to shift our thinking and adjust our expectations to reduce the stress of having “so much to do.” By making alterations to how we think and small changes in how we behave, we can significantly increase our peace of mind.

You need to value yourself and remember that your time is also worthwhile.  By planning more carefully, you can free up precious minutes and hours in your schedule to enjoy activities or simply relax.

Here are 3 easy and inexpensive tips to gaining back some time in your busy week:

1. Learn To Say No

no is a complete sentence memeIt can often seem like a powerfully intimidating two letter word. But for such a tiny word, “no” can be profoundly liberating.

We all want to be the best relative, friend, neighbor, club member, etc., so that we can be helpful and contribute to the people and communities that are important to us. But the more we say yes – whether out of a sense of duty, obligation or even generosity – the more likely we’re going to feel overwhelmed.

“The ability to communicate ‘no’ really reflects that you are in the driver’s seat of your own life,” according to Vanessa M. Patrick, associate professor of marketing at the University of Houston. “It gives you a sense of empowerment.”

Patrick co-authored a study showing that “I don’t” rather than “I can’t” language is more effective in saying no and holding fast to that position. So, pick and choose your commitments wisely to begin the road to greater happiness and reduced stress.

 

“When you say YES to others, make sure you are not saying NO to yourself.”

— Paulo Coelho

2. Online Grocery Shopping

The average person spends nearly an hour in the grocery store during each shopping trip. This doesn’t include driving to/from the store or loading and unloading your vehicle. Additionally, supermarkets can often be busy, which adds to the overall stress of the experience. Fortunately, so many stores and services now offer online shopping services that dramatically reduce shopping times.

Additionally, selecting groceries online makes it easier to stay within your budget and avoid those impulse purchases.

3. Cooking Day

Many parents know this special planning tip: spend a half-day once a week preparing food for the week can save money and time. There are online resources on how to shop and plan for this type of schedule. You can control the nutrition content of your meals while ensuring your cooking time is not spent in a flurry of stress and hurrying, but instead in a calm pace. During the week, you’ll be more focused on actual conversation and enjoying your food and your family because you’re not harried by prep and cooking beforehand.

…And Don’t Forget…

Remember your goals

However, as much as you reduce and manage your workload by saying “no,” outsourcing and planning, there’s still plenty to do. If you want to change your mindset from getting caught up in the busyness, you surely can. But, it’s easy to get lost in your everyday tasks and forget why you have this goal in the first place. Writing out your values is a way to remind yourself of how important this is to you. It’s a way of cutting through the demands of life and resetting your brain.

Keeping a gratitude journal every night is known to decrease stress and increase happiness, and can assist you on your journey to accomplishing these goals. Writing out inspirational quotes, sticking them on your bathroom mirror and keeping a book about calm living by your bed are additional ways to check in with yourself.

Set intentions for your day

If you wake up in the morning and one of the first things you do is say your intention out loud for a few minutes, that’s going to guide your day. Positive intentions are a powerful, simple and time efficient way of moving yourself in the right direction. If instead, you focus on the negative idea of “how busy you are,” those thoughts will continue to add to your stress in a downward spiral. But positive intentions can rewire your thoughts and emotions to change your beliefs about your life.

Try one of these:

My life is full of calm and full of peaceful hours.

I will accomplish what’s necessary on my to-do list, without worrying.

When I feel overwhelmed, deep breaths will center me.

For additional help staying focused on the present, rather than getting caught up in your list of what’s left to-do, try these “Meditations for Inner Peace.”

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